Somerset Skills & Learning has helped people start on brighter futures thanks to the apprenticeship challenge, which closed at Easter.

The campaign was created by SS&L and other colleges and training providers within Somerset.

It was originally designed to generate 100 apprenticeship vacancies within 100 days but the target was smashed over and over again, ending with over 500 pledges, with more than 120 coming through SS&L alone.

After the challenge was launched in January, dozens of businesses came forward to pledge. Apprentices have been matched with workplaces in industries including engineering, construction, business, catering, care and childcare.

Taunton based Abacus Nursery recently joined the list of employers backing the apprenticeship scheme.

Manager Ruth West said: “We have recruited and developed apprentices with SS&L for ten years. The apprenticeship route provides young people with the trade and skills required for their chosen career, giving young people with the natural ability to work with children an opportunity to gain qualifications.”

SS&L senior manager Dave Watson said: “The campaign has been an incredible success; securing work based training and employment opportunities for over 500 people in Somerset.”

Among the many employers who have worked with SS&L to recruit apprentices are Jual Branding Clothing, Pattern Forme, Matrix Solutions, Holywell Nursing Home, Bouncy Bears Childcare, and WS Hendy and Sons.

The organisers staged a celebratory event at the Holiday Inn, at which employers and apprentices shared their experiences.

Any employers or would-be apprentices interested in finding out more can call 01278-426828.